A Japanese startup’s DIY eVTOL is ready to take flight.
Tetra Aviation, a startup founded in Japan in 2018, has just begun flight tests for its Mk-5 eVTOL in northern California. That’s a huge step for any eVTOL, but especially for one that you’ll eventually be able to build yourself.
The Mk-5, which made its debut at this year’s EAA AirVenture show in Wisconsin, is a personal eVTOL with a 32-rotor propulsion system powered by a 13.5 kWh battery pack. The rotors are evenly spread across two fixed wings, the first positioned in front of the single-person cockpit (which has a 250-pound weight capacity) and the second behind it. It’s definitely not the most stylish eVTOL we’ve seen—that would be Urban eVTOL’s Leo—but it’s already functional, which isn’t something you can say about all its peers.
A video posted to YouTube by Tetra on Wednesday shows the Mk-5 in action. In the footage, you can see the eVTOL taking off from Byron Airport, which is located 50 miles east of San Francisco, and setting forth on a quick little flight around the arid airfield before safely touching down. This particular flight was controlled remotely, according to Digital Trends, but the company plans to begin piloted test flights in the months to come.
The Mk-5 appears to be flying at a leisurely pace in the video, but Tetra claims the production model will be able to reach a top speed of 100 miles per hour and can operate for an hour on a single charge. Those numbers aren’t too shabby for a personal eVTOL, to say nothing of a DIY model. And that, of course, is what really excites us about this aircraft—you’ll be able to build it yourself. The company plans to sell the Mk-5 as a kit plane. It’s not for amateur hobbyists, though. It will need to be inspected by an official from the Federal Aviation Agency before your start flying.
Although piloted test flights are still to come, Tetra appears to be pretty confident in its little aircraft. The company said it expects deliveries of the Mk-5 to begin by the end of next year. If you’re interested, you can reach out for pricing through the company’s website. Either way, the air taxi era seems to be getting closer every day.